Wednesday, 30 April 2014

PV Analysis: DIAURA - "Menace"

DIAURA was formed in December of 2010, comprised of Yo-ka (ex-Valluna) on vocals, Kei (ex-Valluna) on guitar, joined in March 2011 by Shoya on bass and in April 2013, Tatsuya on drums. Since their formation they've released 12 singles and 2 full albums, conveying a theme of Their latest single as of this writing is Menace, released in March 2014. In attempting to analyse the video, I've consulted lyrics from HipHopVomit, and Google translate has done a number on them so bear this is mind as I refer to the words as I go.

As the clip begins there's the low thrumming of Shoya's bass, and from here we cut to what appears to be a sonogram transposed over busy crosswalk. The shape of the 'frame' and vague imagery, coupled with the informational overlay make me think it's a sonogram, based on image search results for the term. As Tatsuya's drums kick in, we see the band in solos with a Terminator-style overlay on the frame. They're set in front of an elaborate brickwork. Kei's guitar kicks into high gear amidst quick cuts - from Yo-ka to the busy street again, this time a woman seems to walk toward the camera, though we don't see her in full. The crosswalk is seen again, sped up further this time.

We get a view of Kei, sporting goggles that look like they were fashioned from a human skull, eyes lit up fully. This villainous aspect and bizarre tech had me wondering if the RoboCop-ish overlays were his point of view, but the same effect is applied here quickly discounting the notion. More quick cuts of the band are followed by a shadowy shot of a woman. As the 'Wake up wake up to my life (eyes)/Wake up Wake up the Menace' lyrics play, we see Yo-ka seated in a well-appointed hall, with an empty striped chair next to him.

The verse continues, and we see shots of the band members playing through a haze of video effects, from black and white to a split in the middle as though the vertical hold is well off. The lyric 'Dream that decayed in the era such as equality say to God' might speak to this, as these effects are somewhat anachronistic by today's standards. The band is seen playing as a unit, in front of an ornate doorway, and we're shown a woman's face in a darkly lit-shot.

The apparent sonogram is seen again, and around 1:30 a shot of Yo-ka in front of the doorway reveals the name 'Lockheart' under what appears to be a crest on the door. While this could be happenstance, the romantic sentiment underlying some of the lyrics certainly reflect the literal meaning of the name on some level. We're shown the crosswalk again, this time filtered by a color-seperation effect, playing up the disillusionment with society held in the lyrics. There's a shot of a junkyard rather briefly, and then black and white footage of a worm-like creature as though seen through a microscope.

The band and the woman we've been seeing are superimposed, and we see Yo-ka with a manic gleam in his eye as the 'Wake up to my life' refrain is heard again. There's a guitar solo that starts as we see the dump once more in stark monochrome. It looks like the pile is being added to, and the footage has an array of fine lines across it. We see the crosswalk again, and the woman is shown in sunlight, as though she's been walking the streets all night. Her surroundings seem lighter as well, as though she's 'woken up' in the new setting.

Her feet are seen walking barefoot in a snowy area, and then she's leaning against a wall around the 2:30 mark. The music drops out for a few seconds as we hear an omnious ticking; the band is seen in the brick-walled area and it appears to be a room rather than an outdoor scene. Amidst shots of the band members there's another shot of a street, in black an white this time, and a noose hanging amidst tree branches is seen shortly after.

As we hear the 'Wake up' refrain again a shot of rolling clouds comes up, followed by more solo shots and Yo-ka looking more crazed than before. The woman is seen from the front and back-lit, as she reaches towards the camera. Interspersed are shots of the band in the hallway chairs as seen earlier. As she reaches, she starts to point and the shot focuses on her hand. Her hand closes, and we revisit the clouds, worm and crosswalk, followed by her drawing her hand away.

Her hand is clenched as she draws it towards her and the music tapers into a landscape of electro-distortion. She opens her hand to reveal a clump of black feathers, and we see Yo-ka one last time, the feathers in his hair clearly shown. As in the lyric - 'If you are grabbing it from reaching out' - she seems to be his life-line. She could be his prime hope in avoiding a fate as the titular menace of the track. Her hands are held in one another as the video draws to a close.

There's a strange progression musically that's suitably mirrored by the imagery, creating a standout clip that conveys the feeling well. The band is well represented throughout the narrative thread presented, slim though it may be. DIAURA has announced a single dropping this August, and will surely present a compelling portrait of that track, if this PV is any indication.

By Josh Campbell

Double A-Side Single (CD+DVD)
01. Menace
02. Kyoukaisen

01. Menace (MV)

Order direct from their OHP! Limited to 2000 pieces.